Bob Apollo

McKinsey: Shooting holes in the “Sales Funnel”

The latest McKinsey Quarterly carries a great article on the consumer decision journey - and shoots holes in the now outdated "sales funnel" metaphor. Whilst the piece focuses primarily on B2C buyer behaviour, our own observations suggest that many of the principles are...

Solution Selling – Where’s the Problem?

Selling undifferentiated products is tough. Margins are declining, competition is increasing, and the buyer has all the power. Wouldn't it be so much nicer if you could sell highly profitable value-added solutions instead? Well, possibly... I've lost count of the number of organisations who have...

Is Your CRM System a Sales Prevention System?

Most sales organisations have some sort of CRM system in place. Many have made significant investments in the system. Yet simply implementing CRM – just like just running a sales training course – offers no "magic wand" for improving sales performance. In fact...

Crossing the Chasm, Eagles, Flocks and the 70% Solution

I was reflecting with a client the other day on the current economic climate, and how hard it was to recruit really good sales people, and how challenging it was to win new customers as a new technology business. It seems that these...

Time to Brush Up Your Trigger-Nometry!

How confident are you that you truly, deeply understand who your best prospects are, what really matters to them, and how and why they choose to buy? It's an increasingly important question, for two reasons: firstly, the latest studies confirm a trend which has been...

The 8 Sources of Sales and Marketing Waste – Updated

Thank you to everyone who responded with your feedback to my earlier blog ("The 7 Sources of Sales and Marketing Waste"). It's clear that avoiding wasted sales and marketing effort (and budget) is a subject that is dear to your hearts, as many...

The 7 Sources of Sales and Marketing Waste

Systematically identifying and eliminating waste (or "muda") is fundamental to lean thinking. Waste can be defined as anything that adds no value to the customer – and eliminating one source of waste inevitably exposes others in the unending quest for perfection. Lean...

Leaning Towards Perfection

Lean thinking has its roots in the Toyota Manufacturing System - a concept brought to the attention of the world in "The Machine That Changed the World" by Womack, Jones and Roos. Also known as lean production, its goal is the relentless elimination...

Rebalancing Risk in the B2B Buying Equation

Let's face it - today's B2B buyers are scared. They are concerned about the risks and consequences of making a bad buying decision. The impact can be seen in extended buying decisions, growing numbers of participants in the buying process, elevated approval...

New Year Forecasting Resolutions

The dust has started to settle on 2008, and from what we hear, a number of organisations ended up below their initial Q4 forecasts. Fewer end-of-year "bluebirds" seemed to have come in, and a number of apparently solid deals ended in "no decision". I've...

Influencing the Influencers

There's no doubt that trusted advisers and influencers have a vital role to play throughout the B2B buying process, but they are particularly vital during two key phases in the buyer's journey: firstly when the prospect organisation decides that they need to do something,...

The Cost of Inaction

It's clear that the current economic climate is causing a great of risk-averse behaviour on the part of B2B prospects. More people are involved in the decision-making process, the buying cycle is taking longer, and many more deals seem to be getting stuck...

Anecdotes: the Antidote to Premature Elaboration in Sales

I imagine we've all seen it, and frequently suffered from it: the sales person who can't wait to tell you about the features, advantages and so-called benefits of their product or service. It all starts so promisingly - the sales person starts by asking questions...

Go Beyond Win/Loss Reports and Find Out Why Others Chose “None of the Above”

Vendors who have the discipline to complete win/loss reports usually uncover valuable insights. But concentrating only on wins and losses, and ignoring the growing number of deals that end in "no decision" is really missing a trick! Most of our clients - who tend...

The Curse of the “Slow No”

If you're going to lose, it's always better to lose early - and if a deal is going nowhere, it's always better to realise this sooner, rather than later. These are both examples of what I've come to recognise as "the curse of the slow...

Seeing Through the “Window of Discontent”

Most of our clients come from B2B markets, with complex sales environments and are selling a discretionary product or service - in other words the prospect's business could survive, even if not very well, without their offering. Many of them complain about more people being...

Sell More Solutions by Uncovering More Urgent Needs

Many vendors who have a B2B sales model are facing tighter end-user budgets—and buyers who are prepared only to invest in solving their most pressing business issues. Most B2B technology markets are also facing a declining number of "early adopters"; the vast majority of...

You Can’t Outsource Great Customer Service

… or at least, that's been my experience over the past few days. I had the misfortune to have my car stolen last weekend. It was fitted with a tracker, so the police found it - fortunately undamaged - within 24 hours....

Show Stoppers: Why Are Exhibition Sales Techniques So Bad?

I spent half a day at the London "Technology for Marketing and Advertising" show today. I wished I hadn't. Each of the exhibitors had obviously spent significant sums of money merely paying for the space. The hidden costs in terms of...

The Chasm Is Closer Than You Think …

Like most high-tech marketers, I found Geoffrey Moore's "Crossing the Chasm" essential reading. His concept of the gap that exists between Early Adopters and the Mass Market, and the fundamental shifts in emphasis required to bridge it, has proved to be a key...

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